Increased profit the focus of combi-crop
An innovative group of farmers in Carlow are among the first in Ireland to grow a new tillage crop, known as combi-crop, which is a mixture of barley and peas. Balfarm, the group from Ballon, recently held a farm walk with a British consultant to assess the yield and potential of this pioneering new crop.
I attended the farm walk earlier this month, organised by one of my clients who is a member of the Balfarm Group, and was impressed -- if not a little dubious -- by what it's claimed the crop can achieve.
The walk was led by John Faulconbridge, from Western Seeds, a British-based group which is promoting the growing of the combi-crop.
The particular crop in question consists of 60pc barley (Westminster variety) and 40pc peas (Profit variety) and is sown at around 100kg/ac. The actual percentage mix is important to ensure a balance between nitrogen fixation and ensuring that the crop remains standing.
The idea behind the crop is that a farmer will have a good balanced high protein/high starch ration for feeding to animals, especially suitable for dairy cows.
This ration would require little or no supplementation with protein and would be ideal for tillage farmers for inter-trading to their neighbouring farms, and thus further help to eliminate a major cost in the supply chain from forage production to forage usage.
There has been an expression of interest from a local merchant in handling produce.